Florida Governor Rick Scott, on April 15, 2016, vetoed an alimony and child custody bill, SB 668, which had been approved by both the state House and the state Senate by comfortable margins. It is the second time in three years that Governor Scott has vetoed alimony reform. The main objection to the legislation, according to Governor Scott, was the presumption in the time-sharing provision of the bill that judges begin with equal time-sharing in child custody cases as the norm. Governor Scott, and many other Floridians, objected that the presumption placed the concerns of the parents ahead of the best interests of the child.
The Alimony LegislationOriginally, there were two separate bills – one for alimony and a second for time-sharing. During the legislation process, the bills were joined into one. The alimony law changes, as Boca Raton divorce attorneys know, would have disallowed permanent alimony and created a formula for calculating alimony based on the income of the spouses and the length of time they were married. Judges would have been allowed to move away from the formula in some cases. Alimony is a financial award of money that one spouse pays to the other spouse. There are several different types of alimony awards.
- Temporary alimony. Alimony can be short-term payments to a spouse until the final decree of divorce is entered.
- Rehabilitative alimony. This type of alimony recognizes that one spouse often supports the career of the other spouse during the marriage. Rehabilitative alimony enables the supporting spouse the ability to be trained or educated so that she/he can earn a living.
- Bridge-the-gap alimony. This type of alimony helps one spouse transition to the life of a single person.
- Durational alimony. Durational alimony provides one spouse financial assistance for a definite period of time, which means there is a definite time when the alimony ends. Durational alimony cannot be longer than the length of the marriage.
- Permanent alimony. This kind of alimony is for long-term marriages. If a dependent spouse cannot support herself/himself, then a permanent alimony award may be granted. A key factor in the amount of permanent alimony payments is the standard of living of the couple during the marriage.